Muscle endurance training VS strength training.
The BIG question - is there a difference and which one is better for you?
Let me just give it to you straight. YES, there is a big difference between the two AND spoiler alert - one is not better than the other - we need BOTH types of training for functional, every day movement.
Let's get geeky and dive deeper mmkay (but not too deep - gonna keep it English and not scientist - cuz like, I'm not a scientist - just fully INTO this body type stuff.
Muscles are made up of hundreds and thousands of fibers, which then break down into myofibrils and myofilaments - you know - down to the tiny atom type particle. It's these fibrils and filaments that slide across each other and allow the muscle to contract and generate force. Did I just get too scientific when I said I wouldn't? Okay, Ok, let's get to the real goodness - muscle fibers! There are 3 different types of muscle fibers - in this blog post we will just refer to 2 - slow and fast twitch. Yay! A term we've heard of! EVERY muscle has each of these types of fibers within them but some muscles have more slow twitch fibers and others have more fast twitch.
Slow twitch muscle fibers are more resistant to fatigue because they have more blood vessels which means they are built for muscle endurance. More blood flow means a higher supply of oxygen to allow the muscle to work for extended periods of time without getting tired. Taking this to the group fitness room - think lighter weight, higher reps (cough, cough - UpBeat Barre). Even classes that claim to be "strength" fall under the umbrella of muscle endurance because of the high rep count and repetitive nature of the movement for an extended period which technically classifies them as a muscle endurance based class.
Fast twitch muscle fibers are built for strength training because they have less blood vessels meaning they work anaerobicly (without oxygen or less blood supply). In short, fast twitch muscles provide force and power but tire quickly so they only work for short periods of time. Think heavier weight, lighter reps and moving in bursts for shorter periods of time.
So which one is better? Neither. They are both equally important for every day activities. Think of that big box of Halloween decorations you just pulled out of the garage (you know you did - don't deny it - we aren't here to judge). What muscles did you use? Likely your fast twitch muscles. The muscles you've been working on in your strength classes with heavy weights - those are the muscles you just used for the Halloween decorations box. We took a boating trip to Flaming Gorge for the Labor Day weekend - skiing behind a boat for an extended period of time is exhausting - slow twitch endurance fibers were definitely used there.
BENEFITS OF MUSCLE ENDURANCE TRAINING:
Refined training technique
Less chance of back problems
BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING:
Improved bone health
Controlled body fat
Maintained muscle tissue
Improved heart health
Decreased risk of falls
In summary, both endurance AND strength training are important and BOTH should be part of your exercise routine.